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Australia is the only Commonwealth Country not to have signed a treaty with its First Nations Peoples.

For NITV's Treaty explainer: please click here

Yolŋu Nations are seeking a treaty as soon as possible as colonisation, assimilation and attacks on their self-determination, culture, languages and lands are real today. The level of destruction, and imposed disempowerment and despair has been increasing since the 2007 NT Intervention - Stronger Futures push to the to Northern Development, massive cuts under the 'so-called' Indigenous Advancement Strategy, etc The people are excluded from outset of policy formation/ development and excluded from any meaningful engagement.. There is a new urgency in their calls for treaty as also e.g. articulated in the Northern Regional Christian Congress, (NRCC) statement and rationale of 17th July 2015 at

For the Yolŋu Nations Assembly Declaration on Sovereignty & Treaty (in Yolŋu Matha and English): please click here



STICS Public Forum

“Men speak out for Treaty”


Monday, 14 March 2016 at Redfern Community Centre

Following on from Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney’s successful 2015 forum, First Nations ‘Women Speak out for Treaty’, this event featured five First Nations Men:

Yingiya Mark Guyula, Djambarrpuyngu Nation, Yolngu Nations Assembly Spokesperson

Terry Mason, Awabakal Man, Chair of NTEU A&TSI Policy Committee

Tony McAvoy SC, Wiri Man, Barrister

Tauto Sansbury, Narungga Elder and Aboriginal Advocate

Chris Sarra, Gurang Gurang, Founding Chairman, Stronger Smarter Institute

Facilitator: Jeff McMullen
, journalist and film-maker

For info about the event (speeches, videos....): please click here


For last year's STICS Forum "Women speak out for Treaty":



spoke at the Trades Hall Auditorium on 15 March 2016


Chosen by a First Nations political structure, the Yolŋu Nations Assembly, Yingiya is running on Treaty in a majority First Nations electorate in Arnhem Land.

For info about the event (video, speech....): please click here



20 March 2015

Treaty Forum:

First Nations Women Speak out for Treaty

On 20th March, Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney hosted a public forum in Redfern to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2015: First Nations Women Speak out for Treaty.

Guest Speakers:

Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, Arrernte-Alyawarra Elder

Brenda Croft, Gurindji/Malngin/Mudpurra artist

Amala Groom, Wiradjuri woman

Natalie Cromb, Gamileraay woman

Facilitator: Jeff McMullen
, journalist and film-maker

Treaty would recognise the sovereignty of the First Nations People over their land and enshrine the right of self-determination which was promised to them when Australia ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 40 years ago.

The forum also discussed the relationship between Treaty and the current campaign for constitutional recognition.


Friday, 27 March 2015 NITV aired a one hour program titled 'Opinion Piece - Women Speak Out For Treaty'
For a short preview video clip: please click here

For videos of the Forum: please click here

For more info about the Forum: please click here




The message from very many Aboriginal Peoples in Australia to the Australian Government is that the time is long overdue for genuine negotiation on treaties.

8-minute You-Tube video clip:

Aboriginal Peoples of Australia have been waiting for more than 200 years for formal and binding agreements with Government. They want the opportunity to take control over their lives and to determine their futures through legal agreements, compacts, covenants or treaties established in law and enforceable through the courts.

'concerned Australians'  -

The Advantages of Treaty
On 6 December 2014, ‘concerned Australians’ invited a group of some 50 colleagues and friends to join them for a discussion on Treaties.
Three of the attendees graciously agreed to share their views on the advantages of treaty. They were Bobby Nicholls, Aboriginal Partnership Officer at the Department of Health in Wangaratta and Co-Chair of the Traditional Elders Owners Land Justice Group, Gene Roberts who is now the Western Metropolitan Local Justice Worker for VALS, and Janet Turpie-Johnstone. Melbourne’s first Aboriginal Anglican priest, and currently working as an Aboriginal Equity Pathways Officer at the Australian Catholic University.
All three were enthusiastic in their belief that treaties would improve the lives of Aboriginal peoples across Australia and their establishment would be the only way by which Aboriginal culture could be protected. Janet feared that without treaties Aboriginal culture might not survive. ...

Comments by Ray Jackson, President Indigenous Social Justice Association, Prix des droits de l’homme de la  Republique Francaise 2013 (French Human Rights Medal 2013)

“an excellent video from the 'concerned australians' group raising the concerns of several community elders against the horror of the nt intervention by the howard and subsequent governments. it examples the blatant theft of traditional lands for 99 years and then to be compensated from monies already belonging to them. they are not paid from the government coffers, they are paid from the mining royalties that is already theirs by right from the pittance the mining companies are made to give them.

this cynical practice mirrors the howard government use of some of the $400 million that was set aside to pay for the proper and full implementation of the rciadic 339 recommendations. howard used these funds to obstruct justice for several stolen generations cases in court. he also used those funds to fight native title cases in the courts. this was, and still is, grand theft indeed. to use our own monies against us merely highlights the fact that no australian governments have any intention of treating our peoples with the respect and honesty we deserve.

there will be no honourable reconciliation, recognition, treaties. nothing! the colonial theft and abuse of the previous 226 years will continue unabated until we are left with nothing. we will, however resist to the end.”


Media Coverage

SMH - How an Indigenous treaty would build a better foundation for Australia - 13 December 2015
Australia does not recognise the sovereignty of its first nations by way of a treaty, and the effects have been devastating. ...


WGAR Newsletter - WGAR News: Aboriginal women on why Australia needs a treaty: Rachel Evans & Richard Fan, Green Left - 13 April 2015

WGAR Newsletter - WGAR News: NITV Opinion Piece: First Nations Women On Treaty - Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, Brenda Croft, Natalie Cromb & Amala Groom - 29 March 2015

WGAR Newsletter - WGAR News: First Nations Women Speak out for a Treaty - Rosalie Kunoth-Monks sets out a brighter vision: STICS - 26 March 2015

WGAR Newsletter - WGAR News: Upcoming STICS Forum: First Nations Women Speak out for Treaty - Guest Speakers: Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, Amy McQuire, Amala Groom & Natalie Cromb - 3 March 2015

Sovereign Union - National Aboriginal Freedom Movement: Aboriginal Sovereign Manifesto of Demands
"'Day One' of the Sit-in was successful in gaining world attention, due to government 'spill' being moved forward by a day. The Aboriginal Sovereign Manifesto of Demands was delivered in person to both sides of the Commonwealth government.
The Manifesto begins with:
"We, the Aboriginal Sovereign Peoples with the National Aboriginal Freedom Movement demand that the Commonwealth of Australia begins negotiations to establish a time frame for our decolonisation, through Treaties under the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties with the legitimate authorised representatives of each Nation State. This will form the basis of the recovery framework for the healing from the devastation wreaked upon Aboriginal Nations and Peoples by State sanctioned genocide and gross violations of human rights. ... "

New Matilda - Peak Indigenous Body Acknowledges Resistance To Recognise Campaign - 20 February 2015
“The calls for recognition as a sovereign peoples and the calls for a Treaty are not without substance in Australia.

NIRS - Celeste Liddle urges Treaties before constitutional recognition - 29 August 2014

A First Nations rights campaigner says she believes writing Indigenous Australians into the Constitution is a compromise....

SBS NITV - Indigenous sovereignty campaigners renew call for land rights treaty - 20 August 2014
Indigenous leaders and community elders have launched a new video campaign, urging the government to fulfil Bob Hawke's 26-year-old promise of a land rights treaty for Indigenous Australians. ...

New Matilda - 'Unsettling Truths' In Pilger's Utopia Reach US Shores - 20 August 2014 -
John Pilger's Utopia is earning positive reviews in the United States, suggesting that while Australian audiences may find the truth hard to swallow, international concern over Indigenous rights abuses is growing, writes Amy McQuire ...
"This film makes a powerful case for a genuine Treaty between Aborigines and the federal government to end the injustices that have afflicted Australia's First Nations since European colonization began in 1788."...

New Matilda - Fresh Push For Treaty Emerges From Shadow Of Recognise Campaign - 19 August 2014
...A new YouTube campaign, narrated by Aboriginal actress Kylie Belling and featuring a number of strong Aboriginal women, has been launched to reinvigorate the call for a treaty....
The video charts the beginnings of dispossession, the broken Hawke promise to sign a treaty with Aboriginal nations, and presents a harrowing portrait of the rights abuses under the Northern Territory intervention. ...
Bagot community leader Joy White is also filmed telling a forum of the importance of land to Aboriginal equality: “Unless we get our rights back as Aboriginal people of this land, unless we get that back, there is no hope for Aboriginal people because the government will still condemn us every way we can.”

New Matilda - Time To Recognise Significant Aboriginal Wariness of Constitutional Reform - 18 August 2014
...While Aboriginal people have rallied under the banners of land rights and treaty, pounding pavements and pulling down parliamentary fences, this current incarnation of “constitutional reform” was dreamt up by John Howard...while they all continued the greatest Aboriginal rights abuse in decades – the NT intervention....What happens to the momentum for change, for true land justice, for a treaty?...

Canberra Times - Constitutional recognition will do nothing for Aborigines - 25 July 2014
...After 226 years Aboriginal people are still prevented from making their own decisions. The Recognition proposal condones that immoral position. Why not declare self-determination a constitutional right? ...

ABC News - Indigenous campaign builds against constitutional recognition - 10 July 2014
...Ms Liddle said the panel [on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples] reported that the Australian public would vote against any proposal using the words "sovereignty" or "treaty". "Does that negate our ability to go and negotiate a treaty and be recognised as sovereign peoples of the country?" she asked. She said Indigenous activists had been campaigning for a treaty for decades.
In 1988 then Prime Minister Bob Hawke, while visiting a Northern Territory Aboriginal community, promised Australia would enter into a treaty with Indigenous Australians by 1990. The treaty never eventuated.
In 1992 the High Court recognised Native Title in their landmark Mabo decision. "At that point, that’s when we should have been talking about treaty," said Ms Liddle. "It's kind of like the position has been scaled back."
Ms Liddle said other countries have made treaties with their indigenous peoples and believes the current national debate needs to be about a treaty rather than constitutional recognition. ...

The Stringer - Treaties Are Agreements Between Equals - 3 May 2014
"The Australian’s headline ‘Abbott open to treaties with Aboriginal nations’ might shock, confuse and cause many Aboriginal people to be justifiably suspicious.  All of a sudden the conservative Coalition Government is welcoming discussion about something we have demanded for decades, something former Prime Minister Bob Hawke promised to deliver by 1990, and a proposal that the current federal Labor opposition has labelled "stupid". ... The nature of any treaty process must be owned by Aboriginal people on the ground." By Callum Clayton-Dixon

Video: 98.9FM Brisbane: Watch the Let’s Talk Treaty discussion - 10 March 2014
"Let’s Talk Treaty panelists include, Wayne Butcher, Monica Morgan, Warren Mundine & Nicole Watson, hosted by Tiga Bayles."
"We all know Yothu Yindi’s hit song Treaty. But what is Treaty? When it comes to relations between Indigenous peoples and colonial powers, treaties are simply formal agreements that set down the terms and conditions by which two or more groups can coexist. The British Empire signed treaties with many of the tribes of Americas, and the Maori of New Zealand. But no treaty was ever signed with the First Nations here."

The Stringer - Treaty - 24 January 2014
...Chair of the Yolgnu Nations Assembly, Dr Djinyini Gondarra believes Treaty can be the “great liberator” for all people.
“I want to see that my people will be free, that my people can live in peace without being a victim of somebody else.”
“I want to see my people celebrate their true dignity as the First Nations People of this continent.”
“I want to see my people live in Arnhem, that they can live with their language and with their culture. My people should not be moved on.”...
...Prime Minister Hawke vowed that his Government would enter into a Treaty with Aboriginal peoples Australia wide by 1990. However, this would become a Prime Ministerial promise that would be broken. In response, Yothu Yindi composed “Treaty” to protest the hurtful broken promise. In 1992, the song climbed the Australian charts and became famous around the world.

More articles on Stringer:

The Wheeler Centre - Intelligence Squared Debate: True Reconciliation Requires a Treaty - 12 Nov 2013

...Many believe that a treaty is essential – our neighbour New Zealand and contemporary Canada have established treaties, recognised by the UN...
In this video, our panel debates the need for a treaty – and the way to achieve true reconciliation. Chaired by Wheeler Centre director Michael Williams, with speakers George Williams, Mark Yettica-Paulson, Mick Dodson, Peter Sutton, Tony Birch and Gregory Phillips.

SMH - Treaty with Australia's Indigenous people long overdue - 12 November 2013
...We are now the only Commonwealth nation that does not have a treaty with its Indigenous peoples. We have never entered into negotiations with them about the taking of their lands or their place in this nation. Rather than building our country on the idea of a partnership with Aboriginal people, our laws have sought to exclude and discriminate against them...


Further Information

John Pilger's website: How to support the Aboriginal people in their struggle for justice [scroll down on page]
... I recommend that people write to Prime Minister Tony Abbott, calling on him to start, without delay, negotiations for a fully constituted Treaty between the Commonwealth of Australia and all the First Nations of Australia. This would included long overdue restitution and universal land rights....

'concerned Australians' - In the Absence of Treaty
This book explores the current inadequacy of the process used in engaging with Aboriginal people, which results in control slipping away from them. It provides concise but incisive account from recent reports about the reasons for the ongoing and growing frustration of many Aboriginal people in the NT. In doing so it hints at possibly the only solution - treaties.

'concerned Australians' - Treaties

WGAR Background to Treaties with Aboriginal Sovereign Nations of Australia - 26 March 2015

Treaty Republic - Bob Hawke's Draft Treaty
At the Barunga sports and cultural festival in 1988 the Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, was presented with a petition framed by bark paintings. Now known as the Barunga Statement, the petition called for recognition of a wide range of Indigenous rights including a negotiated Treaty. The Prime Minister responded with a commitment to a negotiated Treaty with Aboriginal people. ...

UNSW - A Treaty Between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians
This project came to an end on 31 May 2005. No new materials have been added to this site.
Treaty Resources and Extra Reading
The emphasis is on information freely downloadable from the World Wide Web although some books and other items not available on the web are included. The final outcome from the Centre's Treaty Project was the book Treaty...   or

Australia’s first peoples are on the lowest rung of Australian society and are largely locked out of the wealth of a very affluent country. This book takes a fresh, practical look at whether modern treaty-making between Indigenous peoples and government in Australia is feasible and whether a treaty could help Australia solve some of these practical problems – as well as problems of principle. ...

AIATSIS - Aboriginal Sovereign Treaty '88 Campaign
The Aboriginal Sovereign Treaty '88 Campaign called for the recognition of Aboriginal Nations and Peoples' sovereign rights, and ownership of Australia, and for the Commonwealth Government of Australia to treaty with Aboriginal sovereign nations through the mechanisms of international law.